So I know my last post was all about indulging this Thanksgiving. And although I still say you should go for it IF you can uphold the three points I mentioned – 1) moderation is key, 2) remember there are consequences to your indulgence and accept them fully, and 3) promise yourself that it’s for Thanksgiving Day ONLY – there are still some of you who want to make your Thanksgiving meal a healthy one. If you’re one of those people, props to you!
In fact, even though I still plan on eating pumpkin pie with whipped cream, leche flan, and creamy mashed potatoes, I think I’ll help my mom with the cooking this year by trying out a few healthy Thanksgiving recipes.
For this post I’ve compiled some ideas that I found all over the place. Some are from other blogs, some are from food and nutrition sites, and some are floating around in my head. After you’ve let the food digest after Thanksgiving dinner, add a comment and let me know how some of these recipes worked out for you. Enjoy!
- Arugula and Pear Salad* – I love any salad with fruit on it. Especially pears. If you don’t like the bitterness of the arugula, even though the sweetness of the balsamic vinegar should even it out nicely, I’m sure you could nix it and just go with the butterhead lettuce.
- Spinach Salad with Dried Cranberries, Walnuts, and Pomegranate Vinaigrette^ – I personally would substitute the dried cranberries with fresh pomegranate seeds since it’s kind of hard to find unsweetened dried cranberries and since pomegranates are in season. This salad is a triple whammy – three power foods in one: spinach, packed with vitamins A, C, and folate; walnuts, packed with omega-3 fatty acids (good for your heart); and pomegranate, packed with antioxidants.
- Roasted Turkey – You gotta have this one. And turkey is probably one of the healthiest items on the menu as it is. As an article called Substitutions Make Holiday Fare Healthier suggests, instead of basting it with butter, baste the turkey with its own juices and consider removing the skin after cooking. Oh, and oven roast the thing; don’t deep fry it. It’ll be much less fatty, and you significantly decrease the chance of burning your house down.
- Roasted and Pureed Cauliflower^ – If you’re starchy carb conscious, try this alternative to mashed potatoes. It’s quite garlicky and yummy. Just keep in mind that it’s cauliflower – not potatoes – so don’t expect it to taste like potatoes. Also, try using non-fat or low-fat milk instead of whole.
- Roasted Sweet Potatoes – And if you just can’t live without the potatoes, try sweet potatoes instead. They’re packed with all kinds of vitamins and minerals, higher in fiber, and lower in calories. Slice ‘em up, toss them with a little bit of olive oil, salt, and whatever herbs you like. Throw them in the oven at 375 degrees for about 30 minutes. I personally like to drizzle white truffle oil over them. Mmmmm….
- Stir-Fried Green Beans with Lemon, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts** – Try this instead of green bean casserole. Because let’s face it – who actually likes that stuff? Be sure not to get too carried away with the oil and parmesan though. You don’t want overly oily and salty green beans. This dish should be light and refreshing.
- Whole Wheat Stuffing with Sage, Italian Sausage, and Pears** – I don’t know about you, but stuffing is a must-have on my Thanksgiving table. Try this alternative with whole wheat bread and turkey sausage. Oh, and don’t cook it in the turkey. It’ll just end up absorbing all the fat from the turkey, and in order to cook the stuffing, you’ll probably end up overcooking the turkey. (Yuck, who wants dry turkey?)
- Pear Crumble* – This one sounds good and nice and easy to make. Try to go a little easy on the brown sugar and maple syrup though.
- Squash Cheesecake Bars* – Surprisingly low in calories, fat, and carbs for a cheesecake recipe.
- Red Wine Fruit Cooler^^ – Yes, alcoholic beverages provide additional calories that you probably don’t need after scarfing down all of the above dishes. But if you’re going to drink something, try this one. At least the red wine and blueberries are packed with healthy antioxidants.
- Red Wine – And if you’re a purist, just go for the red wine by itself! Research has shown that small amounts of red wine just might be good for your heart.
And for some great ideas on what to do with all that leftover turkey, check out my husband’s latest blog, Creative Fat-Blasting Thanksgiving Leftover Recipes.
Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!